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OK School for Blind’s regional Braille Challenge® award winners champion literacy

Thursday, March 23, 2023

MUSGKOGEE, Okla.  — “Braille is the key to literacy for many people who are blind,” Faye Miller, Oklahoma School for the Blind’s orientation and mobility specialist.

Miller also coordinates the Braille Challenge® regional competition hosted by Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee for 21 years.

Thirty-one Oklahoma students competed In March for medals and prizes in the annual academic competition sponsored by Braille Institute of America in the United States and Canada.

OSB Media Specialist Susan Jackman produced an OK Braille Challenge 2023 video with competition highlights.

The basic braille unit is an arrangement of six raised dots, two across and three down that resembles the number six domino. Each dot or combination of dots represents letters of the print alphabet. Braille dots are designed to be read with the fingertips, but can be written by hand, on computers or portable electronic note takers.

“Using braille effectively leads to independence and employment success for students who cannot use standard print,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “We are proud to host the annual Braille Challenge®. This challenging competition gives our OSB students and those attending other schools the chance to demonstrate and improve their braille competency skills.”

OSB graduates, retired OSB teachers and teachers of visually impaired students were among the braille experts who proctored and scored tests.

Long-time supporters Sherry Holder and Jeanne Meyer have volunteered at OSB’s Braille Challenge for 21 years

Contestants in the apprentice, freshman, and transition categories were tested on spelling, reading comprehension and proofreading.  

Sophomore, junior varsity and varsity contestants were scored on charts and graphs, reading comprehension and proofreading. They also listened and transcribed passages into braille.

Muskogee Mayor Marlon Coleman helped Faye Miller present medals to all the regional Braille Challenge® winners.

Overall High Score Winner in Apprentice Transition and Freshman Categories

Macey Millar, Muldrow, won the use of a braille writer for one year

Overall High Score Winner in Sophomore, Junior Varsity, and Varsity Categories Winner

Hunter Pugh, Talala


Gold - Elbin Carrillo, Oklahoma City

Silver - Julio Valdez, Oklahoma City

Junior Varsity

Gold - Hunter Pugh, Talala

Silver - Stephanie Story, Tulsa


Gold - Lilith Pedersen, Anadarko

Silver - Quanté Sellers, Oklahoma City

Bronze - Kye Shrum, Perry

Transition 3 Freshman

Gold - Jaylee Burnside, Muskogee

Silver - Piper Conner, Perkins

Bronze - Chris Sumner, Chickasha


Gold - Kennedy Sullivan, Morris

Silver - Jayda Magers, Ponca City

Bronze - Gabriella Henderson, Muskogee

Transition 2 Apprentice

Gold - Kesslee Travis, Muskogee

Silver - Justus Hoover, Alva

Bronze - Miracle Jones, Tulsa

Transition 1 Apprentice

Gold - Macey Millar, Muldrow

Silver - Bryan Alender, Bethany

Bronze - Leah Sailors, Sand Springs

Braille Challenge® competitors will receive brailled certificates and general performance feedback to help improve their skills.

All contestants got Braille Challenge® t-shirts donated by Frank Dirksen and goodie bags with other items purchased with donations. Winners selected prize items at the awards celebration.

Additional Braille Challenge sponsors include Oklahoma School for the Blind, Braille Institute, Bud Holder Memorial Donations, Jeri’s House, Inc., Lawton Council of the Blind, Liberty Braille, Nano Pac, NewView Oklahoma, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, Ruth Kelly Studios, Sapulpa Lions Club, Transcribing Mariners and Tulsa Downtown Lions Club.

OSB Library Media Specialist Susana Jackman and Senior Julio Valdez tested 44 braille writers used in Braille Challenge® competition. Braille writers use a combination of six keys and the space bar to form text in braille.

OSB’s Family and Consumer Sciences classes assisted with lunches for the braille test proctors and scorers.

The Braille Institute will invite the top 50 finalists from the U.S. and Canada to compete in the National Braille Challenge® in Los Angeles in June. Oklahoma competitors have advanced to the national finals 27 times since 2003.

Two of this year’s competitors Kelley Jayda Magers competed at the national level in the apprentice category in 2022, while Hunter Kelly  advanced to national level three times, earning a national 3rd place in the apprentice category in 2017.

OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

For more information, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit

The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of students who are blind and visually impaired. Residential and commuter students meet all state-approved education requirements and receive specialized instruction in braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB provides hundreds of free outreach services each year, including free evaluations and consultations, for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff. 


Braille Challenge award winners from Oklahoma City show off their medals in front of Oklahoma School for the Blind’s trophy case (from left): Quante Sellers, Elbin Carillo and Julio Valdez.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318 

Last Modified on Mar 23, 2023